Global warming isn’t an issue to be taken lightly nor is it something that can be fixed easily — it’ll require hard work.
“The most important thing about global warming is this,” former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said. “Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the scientists, but it’s all of our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the future generations than we found it.”
Global warming is the term coined to describe the ongoing increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and its oceans. The consensus among climate scientists is that the average temperature of Earth has risen by 0.4 degrees Celsius over the last 100 years.
Life on Earth depends on energy coming from the sun. Light reaches Earth’s atmosphere where it is absorbed and then radiated upward in the form of infrared heat. Roughly 90% is absorbed by greenhouse gases and radiated back toward the surface, which warms the Earth. Certain gases block heat from escaping and results in warmer temperatures.
Over the last 16 years, 15 of them have been recorded as the warmest years in history.
In the last 50 years, the primary source of global warming has been due to the increased volume of greenhouse gases such as water vapor, nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide. Human activity is the number one cause for global warming. Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels (coal & oil) have led to an increase in carbon dioxide within the Earth’s atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas when talking about global warming mainly because of the increased concentration of more than 20% of CO2 since the Industrial Revolution. While different gases have different heat-trapping abilities, some are capable of trapping more heat than CO2, but CO2 has the highest concentration by far compared to any other greenhouse gas. No other greenhouse gas adds as much warmth to the atmosphere as CO2.
Carbon dioxide is released through natural processes such as respiration or volcano eruptions, but it is the human activities such as deforestation, land use changes, and the burning of fossil fuels that have resulted in much higher concentrations.
Global warming is a problem and experts have agreed that human activity plays the largest role. And while humans play a key role in adding to the temperature increase, they can also play a role in diminishing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. Solar energy seems to be the most efficient form of energy in order to prevent higher concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The greatest aide to the problem is finding other soluble forms of energy other than fossil fuels.
While the consequences of changing Earth’s atmospheric gases are difficult to predict, there has been a consensus about certain effects that seem likely to happen. Check out Part 2 tomorrow.